Lynne Cheney Pens New Book For Kids

Lynne Cheney is a New York Times best-selling author along with being the "second lady" of the United States. She has a new children's book out, "We the People," the story of the inception of the Constitution.

Cheney sat down with The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith to talk about her new book and a little present-day politics, too.

"This is about the writing of the constitution," Smith said. "Declaration of Independence is pretty easy story to tell. This is tougher. Why did you feel compelled to write this one?"

"It's just as important. One of the stories, one of the parts of the story that I want to convey to kids is that it wasn't enough to be independent," Cheney said. "We had to get ourselves a government that allowed us to be both a free and ordered in the way we went ahead, and it took very brave people to come up with this, very persistent people."

Smith noted that the country was in chaos at the time.

"The country is falling apart, so George Washington and James Madison and others said we've got to fix it, we've got to get ourselves a government that will allow us to experience ordered liberty," Cheney said. "It's a story that our kids should know and it's a story that's been so relevant, as we've watched the process of Iraq over the last few years. You know, having a government, having been liberated from Saddam Hussein wasn't enough. You have to have a government and it's tough sledding. It took us from 1776 to 1787 to get our constitution, couple of years more to get a government under way. It's a really important story, has got great characters."

"What do you get out of this?" Smith asked.

"The satisfaction of helping kids and young people to know more about this great country in which we live," Cheney said.

"Do they teach civics in school anymore?" Smith asked.

"Well, civics is kind of the problem. Sometimes we teach this abstract thing called civics. I want to teach the story. I want to teach the story of Ben Franklin being carried every day to the constitutional convention.

"Literally in a sedan chair," Smith noted.

"Literally, by convicts," Cheney said. "He was old and he couldn't walk, but boy was he sharp. I want to capture the story of James Madison getting there early, writing the Virginia Plan before anybody else could confuse him about it. And getting that out on the table. It's a great story."

Smith then changed gears.

"I want to ask you a personal question. Term is almost finished," he said. "Is there a part of you that is ready to go back to Wyoming and chill?"

"Oh, sure, but there are many things I'll miss as well. It's been a great privilege the last 7 1/2 years," Cheney said.

"What did you think of the vice presidential candidate?" Smith asked.

"I think she's terrific," Cheney said. "You must mean Sarah Palin?

"No, Joe Biden," Smith said, laughing.

"Well, I'd like to know more about Joe. There's been so much attention on Sarah, I'm not sure we've heard so much about Joe as we should," Cheney said.

"Can I ask you another really personal question?" Smith said. "We just ran the George Takei story. Because marriage is legal for gays in California now. Would you wish that for your daughter?"

"Well, I would wish my daughter to have happiness and freedom to make her own choices. The vice president said in the debate with Joe Lieberman, ever so long ago in 2000 that freedom in this country ought to mean freedom for everyone," Cheney said.

"'We the People,' that is the book," Smith said.

"And it's Constitution Week, don't forget," Cheney said.